Trade union's power lies in protecting laborers' rights and interests, said a signed article in Guangzhou Daily. An excerpt follows:
Guangzhou's first construction site trade union was established on Monday. Over 80 of the 130 migrant workers joined the union, demonstrating the union's popularity.
Whether the rest who are taking a wait-and-see attitude are willing to join in the future, and whether the on-the-site trade union's power can grow, are the working goals of the Guangzhou Municipal Federation of Trade Union.
It is undoubtedly an innovation for these workers. It allows the laborers to guard their own rights and interests. To set up trade unions for migrant workers is a practical need.
The key point here lies in whether the power of the trade union can be fully developed. The public is watching whether the on-the-site trade union can fulfill its due functions.
First, the trade union should be controlled by the workers and represent their interests. At present, many trade unions have become mere decorations. Such trade unions are useless and a shame. Trade unions on the construction sites should be more pure and powerful.
Second, the mission of the trade union should be better safeguarding migrant workers' legitimate rights and interests. It is reported that to mediate labor-capital disputes will be the major work of such trade unions. This is decided by the unique national situation during the period as payment default is quite common, which has infringed on migrant workers' rights and interests.
Only by helping them get their defaulted payment can trade unions gain migrant laborers' trust.
Of course, other trade unions should do their jobs well too. So far, there are still many factors restricting the work of trade unions, such as the concept that trade unions may affect economic growth, the low status of trade unions, incomplete institutional design and blind areas in laws. It is a systematic project to improve the institutional environment.
(China Daily 07/28/2007 page4)